The actress on continuing a family tradition and appreciating the art of writing, fashion, and design.
“My life has changed completely,” says Grace Van Dien, since playing the role of Chrissy in Season 4 of Stranger Things. “I didn’t think a role with a short amount of screen time would have the impact that it has had, but I’m very grateful for it. I get to travel all over the world to attend fan conventions and meet everyone who has been touched by the show. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Like many in Hollywood, film and television has been in the family for generations. Her great-grandfather was Robert Mitchum—a massive star of the ’40s and ’50s, and both her parents are in the business. When her father, director Casper Van Dien, remarried a princess, Grace made her television debut at 9 years old in the reality TV show So I Married a Princess.
Hair tie: vintage Louis Vuitton
Heels: Lada Legina
Despite the deep show biz ties Grace was drawn more to reading and playing the piano. “I taught myself how to play the piano by ear when I was 16. I begged and begged and got a little keyboard for my birthday. I played it every night and it drove my dad and whole family insane. I did not want anything to do with being on camera.” But, after high school her interests changed. “My dad wanted me to go to college, but I didn’t. I went straight to acting and I never left.”
Her first role was in the film Sleeping Beauty. Her dad was the director. “Working with my dad was the best. I wish that was every job,” she says. Grace went on to play Brooke Osmond in the teen drama Greenhouse Academy and Katie Campbell in The Village. But her real breakout came as Chrissy Cunningham—the troubled teenage cheerleader in Stranger Things.
Grace’s newfound celebrity hasn’t changed her interests much. Her current fashion likes are designs by family friend Jane Booke. “She makes the most elegant dresses. I’m obsessed.” And she maintains her childhood interest in reading. “I’ve been doing a deep dive into psychology and different personality disorders right now,” she says. “And Greek mythology. I also have an obsession with French music. It’s nonstop. I can’t put an end to it.” Music by France Gall, Clara Luciani, and Pomme dominate her playlists.
Grace is busy already filming her next role, but she shares two hopes for the future—to build a Mid-century modern home: “I’m obsessed with Joseph Eichler’s architecture. He’s a genius,” and to star in a rom-com: “Something classic, like When Harry Met Sally.”
Eyewear, bag, heels: Lada Legina
Dress: Coral Castillo
Pants: Stolen Girlfriends Club